Did your parents ever tell you that the more carrots you ate the better your eyesight would be? Did you believe them? You might have then, but after discovering the truth about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, you’ve probably become a bit skeptical about their childhood.
As it turns out though, having a healthy diet actually is important to having good vision, and carrots are definitely a contributor to your eye health in that regard. Of course, it probably goes without saying that having a healthy diet is no substitute for proper medical eye care. Still, a good diet can offer many benefits to your overall health, but the specific relationship between having a healthy diet and good eye health has been corroborated in a variety of different studies.
Studies have shown that good nutrition can actually delay or prevent certain vision issues from occurring, particularly age-related eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration. So if you really pay attention to what you eat, and your diet is balanced with consideration to your overall health, you can actually reap a lot of benefits.
Alternatively, if your diet is on the unhealthy side, you may suffer from general health conditions, such as diabetes, that can have a more direct impact on your eye health, especially if you have existing conditions that can be worsened.
Of course, eating fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet is important, but there are many different foods that can offer specific benefits for your vision.
If you want to make the most of a healthy diet with consideration to your vision, consider incorporating more foods with:
- Carotenoids – These compounds can help decrease your risk for a variety of eye conditions. Think colorful fruits and vegetables – and yes, that means carrots!
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Good for preventing dry eye syndrome, omega-3 can have a lot of benefits. Try walnuts and almonds, fish or supplements like flaxseed oil or fish oil.
- Bioflavonoids and Zinc – These can help protect your retina and decrease your risk for diseases like macular degeneration or cataracts. Think beef (in moderation) sunflower seeds, or legumes such as lentils and kidney beans.
- Vitamin C & A – The benefits of vitamin C are thought to lower the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, while vitamin A can help protect against night blindness. Citrus fruits and berries are a great way to get your vitamin C intake, while eggs can be a good source of vitamin A.
Ultimately, which foods you include in your diet will always depend on your lifestyle and overall health, so consult a health professional if you are unsure what might be right for you.
And of course, having a good diet is no replacement for giving your eyes the medical attention they need. Scheduling regular eye exams is critical. To schedule your next eye exam, contact our St. Petersburg office at 727-327-8855 to schedule and appointment with our experienced optometrist.